Mad Monster Party

I cannot believe that I didn’t assign you all to read my essay on the 1967 Rankin/Bass film Mad Monster Party! It was published last year in the The Journal of Dracula Studies.

Here’s the thesis paragraph or you can read the whole essay here:

Why does Mad Monster Party complicate its celebration of classic monsters by destroying them and replacing them with technology? Why are the human and nonhuman alike threatened by technology, even though the benevolent version of technology is the only promise the film offers to continue to propagate human cultural norms like heteronormative marriage? Mad Monster Party initially establishes monsters as an organized threat to humanity (led by the traitorous monster-creator Frankenstein, who now has apocalyptic powers as well), only to argue that monsters and humans alike face the greater threat of technology, which paradoxically can both destroy all matter and ensure survival of human culture. Thus, the film’s conclusion condenses the human and monster onto the axis of the organic and places the androids Francesca and Felix on the inorganic, privileging the replication of social structure over the organic body. Reading Mad Monster Party in this way reveals it to be a text that expresses basic mid-1960s cultural anxieties seen in other media productions of the time, but one that ultimately contradicts its progressive agenda by eliminating all threats to human heterosexual marriage: including the humans!

Final Collaborative Website Project
El pequeño Frankenstein

For your final project, you will work in groups to build a website that offers different theoretical perspectives on Frankenstein. Each group will collectively be responsible for writing one page on the site, finding Creative Commons images to use, and organizing your content. Individually, you will contribute a brief essay (~1000 words) that offers a literary argument about Frankenstein informed by a theoretical perspective and supported by secondary research.

The purpose of the site is to be informative about theoretical approaches to Frankenstein (so: not descriptive about the novel’s plot).

The organization of the site should show clear connections within the groups as well as differences between the groups (so: how would Group A’s theoretical approach distinguish itself from Group B’s?)

  • One group member responsible for contributing to a shared annotated bibliography (selecting the best 4–5 annotations from your group’s contribution)
  • One group member responsible for gathering images (including Voyant; be sure to use Creative Commons images and give attribution in a caption)
  • One group member responsible for managing Page layouts/organization
  • One group member responsible for hyperlinks (identify other web projects or resources to link to from your main page, and identify useful links within individual essays).

Voyant Assignment



Graph 1: capture

The first graph that I had created I decided to search words from Frankenstein’s 1818 version and looked up words like supernatural, fear, death and night. I was thinking about genre and how these words specifically tie into the genre of the horror/gothic novel in the 18th century. What I noticed was that supernatural was not present throughout the novel and was a word that was not often used. Words like death and night appeared more frequently throughout the novel. Fear was a word that was used throughout the novel but did not fluctuate like night and death did. What I can conclude from this research is that the words in the novel definitely contribute to the genre that they are associated with because of how often words appear. 

Graph 2:  capture-2

For graph two I used a link graph in order to view how words in the 1818 text of Frankenstein are associated to one another and how close or far apart they appear to be to one another. The terms man and science were linked to one another but man and science were not linked to one another but fairly close to one another. The word society and monster were linked to one another and far away from the terms man, science and family. I thought this was interesting because I would have thought that monster would have been linked to science but it was not. What I can conclude from this graph link is that words in the text seem to have been linked to different words but, not necessarily where they originated from. Ex: science linked to monster or man linked to family.

Graph 3: capture-6-2

For my third graph I decided to use the stream graph to show the relationship between the words that I had processed in the graph. I wanted to know what words appeared more often I typed in words such as life, power, science and, creation. The word creation was the most frequent word then science then power and lastly life. I found it interesting because the graph looks like the words have levels to them in relation to their importance.

Voyant and Frankenstein

upI decided to use the 1818 version of Frankenstein in Voyant. For the three different tools I used Trends, Cirrus, and Bubblelines.


By trends allowing us to see the relative frequencies in a line graph form I wanted to see the comparison of certain words in Shelley’s text. (Easily read tool).  Two of the most frequently used words are man and father, but I was curious to see if creator and father would show any “trend” instead. I thought they would start to blend together the further into the novel we got. Wrong. Father is used in an extremely high amount and spikes high towards the end. Creator doesn’t really have much of a change from start to finish.


Cirrus is a great visual tool to use. Being provided with a view of the most frequently used words may seem helpful to determine the genre of a novel, but it seems the only “horror” description was the word death. The words such a father, time, life, day, etc. could be considered an entirely different genre. I wanted to remove some of those words and see if cirrus could give me anymore indicators to Frankenstein being considered a horror novel.


I wanted to establish that Victor’s name is not really used throughout this novel. As the reader we only see the actual name “Victor” few times. Is this because we should refer to him as creator or even a monster himself? But oddly enough, Elizabeth’s name is used at quite a high frequency. The purple bubbles, representing Elizabeth are huge in comparison the green bubbles representing Victor. Our main character is barely referred to with his given name.

Shannen Coleman



My time with Voyant yielded some fascinating, if not seemingly obvious information.  Seeing as how a large portion of the novel is dedicated to horror, of a more industrial nature, I wanted to examine just want the connotations of science entailed in the novel.


The first graph i made was a bubble lines comparison of the terms, “Father” shown in blue, “Science” shown in pink, “Happiness” in green, and “Misery” in purple.  Fascinatingly there seems to be a correlation between the instances of both “Father” and “Misery” though not a very pronounced one.  Misery however does coincide with science somewhat strongly as they both occur simultaneously in many instances.  There is interestingly a correlation between all four of them, but only very noticeably towards the beginning of the text.


For the next image I wanted to see if there was a connection between Justine, Elizabeth, and Misery.  I threw science in for added measure, though that didn’t do much.  Elizabeth and Justine however seem to both be mentioned relatively frequently.  The peaks of their incidence coincide, though Elizabeth is more common.  Similarly misery seems to spike when they are mentioned as well.  Terrible as that sounds, clearly this is a thematic issue which can be used to trace the misery so prevalent in the novel.


Finally i decided to see if science correlated with father, and sure enough it did quite strongly at the beginning.  This too exposes a tension underlying the text, as the implications of Victor’s science are far greater even on a syntactic level.

All of this reveals some interesting things about Frankenstein.  First, not to abuse a cliche but, Freud would have a field day with any of these implications.  Second, while it cannot be definitively said what this means, it cannot be said that there is no reason for these correlations even on a quantitative level.


(Image won’t appear on here, so I left the link above for those who wish to see the graphs)

Trends: I liked this one the most because I wanted to take a few of the most commonly used words to see what they might have in common with each other. I chose “man”, “father” and “life” to see if there would be any type of connection. Within the first segment, all three of these words have been used a similar amount of times. As time progresses, they drift further and further apart. Between the sixth and seventh segment, they come together again showing that in that particular moment in the text, those words were more commonly connected to one another. This graph was the most clear to me because it showed the use of the words pretty vividly in the graph.

Cirrus: The one is really interesting because it spits out random words used commonly within the text by presenting it in a more up close and personal manner. However, this one does not narrow down the most frequently used words in a much smaller window. This type of presentation is much more broad.

Bubblelines: This one is useful because not only does it show commonly used words, but it shows the context in which they were used in. For example, lets take the word man; we have the sentence “imprinted by the foot of man”. Man in this case would represent mankind, whereas the sentence “her lover. But the old man” would refer to male human. This is interesting because we never really realize the many contexts in which we use such common words.

Voyant Tools


Links: I decided examine the links between these four words to see if there would be any connection between life and nature. In the text I felt as if science was trying to mimic life by attempting to re-create it but this chart challenges my view. It shows that life and science are more closely linked than life and nature. I also found interesting that the term man isn’t directly connected to life, nature or science.

Trends: This graph depicts the novel perfectly, in my opinion. It shows both the changes in Frankenstein and his experiment. Both were creations and after Frankenstein gives life to his experiment, the creation and Frankenstein himself become monsters in the novel. They both seek revenge and want to kill in the end.

Bubbles: In the novel I felt that the idea of creating life was shifted from women to men. Frankenstein creates life, which goes against the natural, so I wanted to examine the correlation between mother and father and the term life. In the beginning of the novel there is a heavy presence of both parents, while in the end the father overrules the term mother. Life interestingly also begins to diminish as the presence of the mother does, but not completely. I wonder if we eliminate the father at the beginning of the novel, if the term life would remain consistent or not.

Web Assignment





Image 1: Using the Voyant tool, I was able to examine how life and death interact in the novel and where they intersect. Even though they are both constants in Frankenstein it is clear to see that there is more life than death, helping to prove that the novel, is in fact, about creation. There is only one point in the novel in which there is far more mention of death than life. Additionally, it appears that in almost the exact center of the novel there is no mention of either.

Image 2: I used the Bubblelines tool to mark the concept and use of time in Frankenstein. Even though the 1818 version of the novel uses more “time language” than its 1831 counterpart, they are both essentially conveying the same meaning. The chart tells us what an important role time plays in the novel and how it can be used to interpret the meaning.

Image 3: Using the textual arc tool allows voyant to read Frankenstein to someone, all while showing the connections between words. The most frequent words, such as father and life, clump in the middle while the less used words, like innocence and language are on the outer circle. I liked using this tool the best because it showed how the novel fit together and which terms were used the most